Please review our mission, values, operating principles, and funding limitations as they appear on this page before considering which of our program areas applies to your organization.

For your convenience the complete guidelines, including program area details, are available as a single document in PDF format.

Download: Complete Guidelines (PDF, 343.19 K)


To support programs and institutions that enrich the quality of life in New York City, with a particular focus on initiatives that help individuals, families, and communities benefit from the services and opportunities that will enable them to achieve their full potential.


In carrying out our mission and making choices about how to invest our grantmaking dollars, we are guided in our selection process by our results-based orientation and by several overarching values that cut across program-area lines. These values are access, system-wide improvement, prevention and early intervention, self-sufficiency, the provision of high-quality services, and a focus on vulnerable populations.

The Altman Foundation:

  • Seeks to increase meaningful access for New Yorkers to quality programs, institutions, and resources, both public and private;
  • Encourages system-wide improvement and change while at the same time maintaining our tradition of direct service and the opportunity to test models in action;
  • Prefers to support preventive and early intervention strategies;
  • Supports efforts that help New Yorkers build and preserve self-sufficiency;
  • Encourages innovation and funds programs and organizations that provide high-quality services based on best practices in their field and that exercise systematic efforts to track credible and meaningful results; and
  • Has an interest in supporting programs that serve vulnerable populations, in particular children and youth from underserved communities, immigrants, and the elderly.

Operating Principles

We define ourselves as investors and are interested in creating the highest possible levels of human gain for the grant dollars we have available. In that mode, we review proposals with the following questions in mind:

  • What are the results from the project—meaning outcomes for participants—that provide the return on our investment?
  • What are the chances those results will be achieved?
  • Is this the best use of our money, given all alternatives before us?

To carry out our mission and achieve human gain, we make three types of investments:

  1. Investments in Direct Service
    In this area we support programs and projects that create human gain for people in our areas of focus. Historically, most of the grants in our portfolio have fallen into this category.
  2. Investments in Capacity Building
    At times we believe that making an investment in an organization so that it can achieve and sustain stronger gains for those served is the best investment we can make. In general, these investments are reserved for organizations with which we are already working.
  3. Investments in Systems Change
    At times we believe that the most pressing need is to make an improvement in the larger context of factors and forces that affect programs and organizations. The Foundation will allocate limited grant dollars to strategic policy, advocacy, and applied research initiatives that advance the Foundation's grantmaking priorities.

In addition, the Altman Foundation:

  • Promotes connections among nonprofits, government agencies, and foundations, and other organizations doing complementary work in order to advance best practices and build knowledge within a given field; 
  • Seeks to leverage its limited resources by investing in issues, programs, or initiatives that have the potential to attract other funding sources, both public and private; and 
  • Initiates a limited number of program-related investments that provide low-cost loans to high-performing nonprofits with strong business models and the capacity to leverage other capital sources to advance effective programs or initiatives.

Funding Limitations

As this year goes forward, we will continue our efforts to sustain high-performing current grantees seeking renewed funding.

While we have limited funds available for new, non-Foundation-initiated grantmaking, if, after reviewing our Guidelines and grants lists, you believe that your work and the results you can already document achieving are directly and measurably in line with the Foundation’s priorities, we want to know about what you are doing via a Letter of Inquiry submitted through our grant portal. We will follow up with you if we need more information; you may find our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) helpful in this process.

This does not apply to current Altman grantees, who should prepare full applications following the directions in the Proposal section on the grant portal.

General Limitations

  • We fund only organizations that are recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as having 501(c)(3) status and that, as a general rule, are not private foundations.
  • The Foundation does not make grants to individuals for any purpose.
  • Grant requests from organizations and programs outside of the State of New York cannot be considered for funding. In addition, Altman Foundation grants focus almost without exception on organizations and programs within the five boroughs of New York City.
  • As a general rule, the Foundation does not fund the following:
    • Bricks and mortar, other capital projects, or the purchase of capital equipment
    • Galas, benefits, and other fundraising events
    • Conferences or symposia that are not connected to current Altman grants
    • Concerts, theater or media performances, or art exhibitions that are not connected to current Altman grants
    • Instructional programming or artist-in-residence programs within the public schools or in correctional facilities
    • Budget deficits
    • Disease-specific projects, with the exception of initiatives aligned with our revised guidelines
    • Public universities or ongoing programs of private colleges and universities
    • Operating expenses and ongoing services of either public or voluntary hospitals